Hot, Crusty French Bread


Classic, crusty french bread, so easy, so quick, so good. Makes perfect authentic Old World-style crusty french bread loaves plus. You can also use this dough for dinner rolls, pizza crusts, dipping bread, or Italian bread (with added oil). If you have company, double or triple the recipe or it will disappear before you can get it to the table!

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How to make Hot, Crusty French Bread:

1 cup warm water
1 package yeast
(rapid-rise recommended)
salt to taste (I used 3/4 teaspoon)
approximately 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine water with yeast and salt. Let sit for five minutes. Stir in flour until the dough is stiff enough to knead. (Add flour a little at a time.) Knead dough until smooth and elastic–a few minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl; cover. Let rise until doubled. Form dough into a French-style loaf and place on greased baking sheet. (Dust baking sheet with cornmeal first if desired.) Place immediately in oven (unpreheated!)–bread will rise as oven heats up. Set oven at 375-degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Makes one loaf. Recipe can be doubled, tripled, and so on.

For dinner rolls: After first rise, divide dough into balls. Dust greased baking sheet with cornmeal if desired. Let rolls rise till doubled. Bake in 375-degree oven about 15 minutes. Makes one dozen rolls.

Pizza crust: Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the water, yeast, salt mixture before adding flour then continue with the basic directions. After first rise, roll dough out on a greased pizza baking pan. Place immediately in oven. Bake at 400-degrees for about 8 minutes. Take out pizza crust. Add sauce and toppings as desired. Put completed pizza back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Makes one large pizza crust.

French bread pizza: Bake french bread loaf as directed above. Let cool. Slice loaf in half horizontally. Add sauce and toppings as desired. Put completed french bread pizzas back in 375-degree oven for about 15 minutes. See Shrimp French Bread Pizza.

Dipping bread: After first rise, roll dough flat in a square or rectangular pizza pan (or cookie sheet). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle garlic, salt, or other herbs as desired. Bake in 375-degree oven for 15 minutes. Cut into thin rectangular pieces. Dip in prepared spaghetti sauce, Ranch dressing, olive oil with garlic and balsamic vineger, etc.

Soft, chewy Italian loaves and rolls: Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the recipe above (add to water, yeast, salt mixture before adding flour) to turn classic, crusty French bread loaves into soft, chewy Italian loaves or rolls. Follow recipe otherwise. Bake at 375-degrees for 30-40 minutes for loaves, 15 minutes for rolls.

See the Hot, Crusty French Bread recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 16, 2007  

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50 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-1

    Love French bread! Thanks for all the great variation ideas! Happy New Year!

  2. 1-2

    I can’t wait to try this! French bread is one of my favorites, and I’m always scared off by homemade bread recipies since I’m a novice. It sounds easy enough though… maybe I’ll give it a try tonight.

  3. 2-13

    this is going to be fun to make french food is delicious never had there bread so its going to be cool to try. :bananadance: :rambo: :woof:

  4. 2-28

    :hungry: i tried and voila, the near french baker shop missed me, my children loved the bread i baked

  5. 3-31

    Hi there!

    Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it! Just one quick question, how much exactly is in 1 packet of yeast?

    Thanks again!

  6. 3-31

    Mich, one packet of yeast is 1/4 ounce of yeast.

  7. 4-4

    I love your website but I do have one question: I made this bread two days ago and it was wonderful. But I was wondering if you though it was okay to add a little oil and let it proof a second time in a 1-1/2 pound loaf pan so that I get a more sandwich bread shape? I’m new to bread baking and have limited tools on my student budget, but I like the texture of this bread so much that I would to use it for sandwiches. And info (via email) would be great. Thanks, Adam

  8. 4-6

    Thanks for the idea, Adam! See my French Sandwich Loaf post to make sandwich bread!

  9. 4-7

    :mrgreen: how nice of you to share this receipe. Thank you

  10. 5-31

    I made this recipe the other day! The rolls were WONDERFUL! The crust was just right! It did lack something, though.
    I think it might be salt. There isn’t an exact amount to put in the dough, so I used about 1/4tsp.

    Do you think it was too little salt?

    Thanks for your recipes. As I type, I have croissants in the fridge. They will be ready for baking in the morning! I Can’t wait!!!! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

  11. 5-31

    Hi, Sandi! Well, I said salt it to taste, but maybe I should have put in there how much I use. I use 3/4 teaspoon in the recipe. But you’ll have to adjust that to suit you, so that might be too much for you. 1/4 teaspoon is probably too little, though!

    (I’m gonna go add to the recipe that I use 3/4 teaspoon!)

  12. 6-6

    Thanks, I going to use this recipe to make sandwich rolls. I have a delicious roast in the oven so we can have french dip sandos for dinner tonight!!! I think this recipe will be perfect!

  13. 7-19

    :clap: :love: :cry: :heart: :no: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :biggrin: :birthday2: :catmeow: :hellokitty: :birthday1: :clock: :friday: lol!

  14. 8-10

    Tried once, tried a second time, tried a third time… but my bread just won’t rise!! help please!
    I’ve been trying the Italian variation, so I add in the 2 tbsp of olive oil.
    I’ve also tried putting the dough to rise in a slightly warm oven, no luck so far. what could I be doing wrong?
    I mix and knead by hand.

  15. 8-10

    Hi, Sea! The only thing I can think of, as long as your environment isn’t too cold (and you’ve tried putting it in the oven) is that your yeast may be bad. Have you checked the expiration date? Also, even if the expiration date is good, maybe just try some new yeast anyway as maybe you got a bad package.

    Oh, also, are you using water that is too hot when you add it to the yeast? That’s another possibility. If your water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. It should be warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too hot. (You should be able to comfortably touch the water–if you can’t comfortably touch it, then it’s too hot.)

  16. 8-10

    Hey Suzanne,

    Thanks for the swift reply! Will try your tips! I have been able to touch the water, so I’m guessing it’s not too hot.
    Will check the yeast, and maybe try a different brand!
    Question: I am to stir the yeast, water, salt mixture before letting it sit for about 5mins, right? and do I add the olive oil before or after those 5mins?

    oh, and someone else recommended that I add a bit of sugar to help activate the yeast, what do u think?

  17. 8-10

    I make this bread all the time (probably at least three times a week) and never add sugar, so I don’t think that’s it. I usually add the olive oil, if I’m going to add it, at the beginning. Sometimes I forget and add it after I let it sit 5 minutes. It never makes a difference. I don’t stir it before I let it sit–I just put in the water, yeast, salt, and olive oil then leave it alone for 5 minutes. In fact, I don’t usually stir it when I go back to it either (just starting throwing in flour and then stir), though I don’t think that would make any difference. Mostly, I’d suspect your yeast!

  18. 8-10

    Will revert next week with the results!

  19. 8-10

    Good luck! Let me know how it goes with some new yeast.

  20. 8-10

    I wanted a typed of homemade bread to make to use once it was cooled to make garlic toast. Well I found this recipe and it seemed so simple. I did the varation were you use 2 tbsp of olive oil and the bread is in the oven. It is looking great and is almost done. I can’t wait to try it. I will send another comment later to let you know how it turned out for us. Thank You for this simple recipe.


  21. 8-10

    Hi, Tammy! That’s great! Let me know how it comes out!

  22. 8-10

    The bread is out of the oven and cooling, of course my daugther and I could not wait for it to be cooled so we sliced it hot. The bread is really yummy. I have a concern, the crust of the bread is really hard. Is it supposed to be that way. If not then I did something wrong when baking. The bread is really delicious, and yes I’m gonna make garlic toast out of it in about an hour.

    I have just recently got into baking homemade bread and find it very rewarding. This recipe is very good and I will be making this recipe again.

    Thank you so much for having this site. I have now added a link to my favorites and will be visiting quite alot.


  23. 8-10

    Yes, this bread has a hard crust (it’s crusty, LOL), but the more olive oil you put in it, the softer the crust will turn out, so if you like it softer, try adding a little more olive oil next time until you get it how you like it!

  24. 9-4

    Dear Suzanne,
    My mother isn’t exactly happy with you… It seems that I didn’t make enough bread… I baked a loaf and tasted a little bit of it… Then some more… Then some more… My mother only got a few 1 inch slices. What can I say? It was good. I just got back from dealing with the hurricane down at the coast of Mississippi and I was craving some homemade food so I looked up a recipe for some bread(I love baking bread). One of the cites that popped up was yours. I noticed this recipe and tried it, while it was baking I was reading. We just recently moved out into the country again after being in a city for many years and the hope of having a small farm was sparked again. I figured if I let my mother read this she would be more willing to get the dadgum chickens I’d been bugging her about. Oh and Adam, your not alone… I’m a dude and my girlfriend is having me teach her to cook… Anyway. Laters!

  25. 9-5

    I’m making another loaf… I doubled the recipe this time…

  26. 9-5

    Hi Suzanne,

    Will u blv me if I say there’s only 1 brand of yeast in this country? hahahaha! but I’m serious, every supermarket I’ve gone into has this one same brand.
    What I did find was “wet” yeast though, don’t know what it’s called. it’s in a soft cube.
    How can I use that for the Italian version of your oh so delicious chewy bread? :) same quantity? and the warm water bit?
    Thanks so much!!! :)

  27. 9-5

    Hi, Sea! Well, I’m just guessing here because I’ve never used any yeast like that, but if it was me, I’d use the same amount and use it in the recipe the same way because that would be my best bet. But like I said, I’ve never used any yeast like that!

  28. 9-6

    Success!! :) :) Finally!! Thanks so much!!!
    I used the “fresh yeast”, well, I must have put in about 25g… uhhh…
    anyways, and this time I used an electric mixer to do the kneading. Let it rise for about 40mins (in a warm oven) – she tripled in size! and then after kneading and putting to bake, I sat back and watched it rise in the oven! :)
    Thank you soooo much! now that’s its airy-er and not weirdly thick and heavy, I can try it on some guests! :)
    oh, and now that I’ve got this one down, I’ll start trying your suggested variations ;)

  29. 7-24

    thank you for sharing this recipe to us, as a culinary student you helped us explore into different variations of french breads

  30. 8-24

    I just made this bread! Right after it came out the oven, i cut a piece, added some butter and strawberry jam…..YUMMY YUMMY!!!

  31. 9-26

    I love baking bread and enjoy finding new recipes on the internet. I came across your site and have the bread in the oven as I type. I’ve never cold started an oven with bread in it, so we’ll see! I’m excited to see the results. I also like the looks of some of your other recipes. Thank you! :)

  32. 10-7

    WOW!!! I made a bit of a different variation. I added about 6 cloves of the jarred pre-minced garlic, and about 6 tablespoons of canned parmesan cheese. It turned out AMAZING!!! Next time I will use more garlic and cheese (I wanted homemade garlic bread for a pasta meal), but it is DELICIOUS!!!!

  33. 10-7

    Oh, and I used 3 tablespoons of olive oil too. The bread is tender and chewy, and the crust is just a bit crunchy, which is exactly what I wanted. Thank you so much for posting this, its definitely something I will be making a lot!

  34. 11-5

    Thank you Suzanne! I have been looking for a recipe like this. I will try it and let you know what happens. It is so simple and beautiful!

  35. 12-14

    HI! Just tried out the french bread recipe…is the bread supposed to be so heavy and dense once its baked? First time making homemade bread…tasted good just very heavy.


  36. 12-14

    No, the bread shouldn’t be very dense or heavy. If you’ve just started baking homemade bread, you’re at the beginning of your journey! Don’t give up. Great bread takes a little practice. Several things could be possible–you might not have kneaded enough, you might have used too much flour, even low barometric pressure in your area today. Try again. You’ll get there! And each time you bake bread, you’ll get an instinct for what small differences result in various changes in your outcome and learn from those.

  37. 1-13

    :dancingmonster: I’ve been looking everywhere for an easy frenchbread recipe- I’m pregnant (again) and have absolutely been craving a meatball sub… i’ll let you know how it goes~

  38. 1-21

    I found you googling quick easy french bread. I love the results! I even wrote a blog post linking to this. I hope that’s ok. If not let me know and i’ll remove it. GREAT RECIPE!!!
    BTW, now have you in my reader. Love your blog.

  39. 3-8

    Oh my goodness! this is absolutely PERFECT! exactly what I am looking for! Thank you Thank you!! I plan on featuring this in a Homemade series I am hosting on my blog next week! I will link back over to you. I am making this TONIGHT!!

  40. 7-29

    great recipe! i was nervous about letting it go in oven while it preheated, but it is just a beautiful bread! i will be serving it to my grandmother along with homemade queso blanco and a tilapia asparagus salad! she should be impressed! thanks for sharing!

  41. 11-5

    I made this today and I absolutely love how it turned out :) , I can’t wait till tomorrow to try it with dinner :D. I also made your french sandwich loaf and all I’ll say is Mmmmmmmmm-mmmmmmmmmm :hungry: :snoopy:

  42. 11-24

    I’m gonna make dinner rolls using the french bread recipe and have them with Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow , I can’t wait :hungry: :snoopy: .

  43. 11-28

    :sheepjump: Loved the dinner rolls too :)

  44. 2-25

    ** How long does it take to Double in size while sitting in covered bowl?? Thanks!! :) :duck:

  45. 2-26

    Priscilla, usually 30-60 minutes. It really depends on how warm it is in your kitchen.

  46. 5-27

    I would love to make this recipe. Both my husband and I like french bread. I was wondering can I add whole wheat flour instead of white. Will it mess up the recipe?


    Suzie :butterfly:

  47. 5-27

    Suzie, sure, you can use whole wheat. I would recommend adding dough enhancer.

  48. 3-22

    ji im relatively new to the whole blogging thing so bare with me, ive been reading the posts here and of course i havent read them all so i’m sure someone else has said something but in case they haven’t i figured id put my two cents in lol, i read a post from Sea where she found “wet yeast” id just like to share my little bit of knowledge on that, its more often called “cake yeast” it doesn’t need to be bloomed which is what its called when you use the typical “active dry yeast” that’s when you put it in water normally with a little sugar but some people use salt tho a gentle warning too much salt will also kill your yeast, cake yeast can simply be crumbled into your dry ingredients, but if you wan you can dissolve it in warm water but you don’t need to wait the 5 mins to let it bloom, i find that i get larger rises when i use cake yeast it almost seems like its more potent not exactly sure why that is im not a professional baker just a hobbiest, hope this helps someone :D

  49. 6-2

    One source of trouble for some of the readers might be the suggestion to put Rapid Rise yeast into water to let it bloom or prove.

    Rapid Rise is an instant dry yeast and not only doesn’t need this step, it should not be subjected to it. Instant dry yeasts are far more lenitive to temperature changes than the older active dry yeasts.

    Here’s a page at Fleischman’s web site that talks about this a bit


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